The Leeds Rhinos – rugby league’s defending Super League Champions and World Club Challenge 2012 winners – are teaming up with Stonewall to celebrate equality at a major fixture on 10 August.
The Rhinos’ clash with the Widnes Vikings at Headingley will be dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, and the Rhinos will wear Stonewall’s logo on their match kit. The Rhinos are taking over from the Sheffield Eagles as the Rugby Football League’s LGB&T champions.
The Rugby Football League (RFL), rugby league’s governing body in England, is a strong advocate for equality and has been a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme – which helps employers support gay staff – since 2008. In January Stonewall announced the RFL is one of Britain’s Top 100 Employers for gay people, reaching 56th place in the Workplace Equality Index.
Leeds Rhinos and England international hooker Shaun Lunt said: ‘Rugby league has always been an inclusive game for all parts of the community. It’s great that the RFL can lead the way with an initiative like this, and we’re happy here at the Rhinos to help promote that message.’
Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said: ‘Sadly a recent University of Cambridge survey for Stonewall’s School Report 2012 shows two thirds of gay young people don’t like team sports, often because they face homophobic bullying on the pitch and in the changing rooms. Governing bodies and sport teams can help change that by following the RFL’s and the Rhinos’ lead in tackling homophobia and celebrating equality.’
To celebrate its commitment to equality, the RFL is offering a commemorative Leeds Rhinos shirt and two free tickets to the Carnegie Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley (25 August) as a prize for a Stonewall Facebook competition on 15 August. To take part, visit www.facebook.com/stonewalluk